If you saw my previous post, then you know we loved Whitefish! During the trip, we had the opportunity of working with two different local photographers, which helped capture the magic of Montana and allow us to enjoy family photos together!
It also had me thinking…how perfect to plan your family photos while on vacation? Since many of you travel throughout the year, I thought I would share 6 tips for planning destination family photos that I’ve found incredibly helpful (some I just learned on this trip!).
First and foremost, once you have your destination booked, head to Instagram and search both the hashtag and geotag for the city. I also like to refine the search with a city hashtag followed by ‘photographer’ (i.e. #WhitefishPhotographer) and find a photographer that fits my style, which is warm, moody and feminine.
While I was planning our trip to Whitefish I discovered Jaci Vigil on Instagram using this exact method…and these photos are proof that Instagram dreams really do come true! I found a phenomenal photographer in a small town with just over 7,000 people. In fact, I actually found several but Jaci was the perfect fit for this shoot. Moral of the story – utilize Instagram!
And for those of you not on the ‘gram, you can always use trusty ol’ Google! I just prefer Instagram because I feel like it’s easier to see their work at a glance…plus I dig social networking. ♥
So you have the destination and the photographer…now you need to figure out a location for the family photos! We always have an itinerary when we travel, so I’ll typically pick a spot that offers plenty of outdoor space and time…I’d give yourself at least an hour for photos. Some photographers will offer 30 minute ‘mini’ shoots at a lower rate – something to consider if you’re on a budget.
Since Glacier National Park is one of the most iconic places in the United States and only 40 minutes outside of Whitefish, it seemed like the perfect location to capture both our family and the gorgeous landscape. We had Apgar Village on Lake McDonald on the itinerary and so we met the photographer, Jaci, there a few hours before sunset. We decided to actually venture about 15 minutes down the road to Sacred Dancing Cascades, which has a nice easy trail with a footbridge and views of the wide river waterfall. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Another perk to working with a local photographer – they know their region, especially for best photo optimization. They have the landscapes, the lighting, the lack of crowds down to a science. I trust their advice whole-heartedly.
Which brings me to the next tip – always be flexible! We changed locations at the last minute and it ended up being absolutely brilliant. Don’t get stuck in a plan that holds you back from creating real magic.
The next tip is to consider the weather, but don’t let it dictate the shoot. Rain is probably the worst case scenario for some…but honestly, I’ve had some pretty amazing shots under an umbrella – makes for a fun prop! The key is to be prepared, and most likely you’ll never use it.
With the weather also comes the outfits. More than anything, especially when exploring in different terrain, wear shoes that will keep you on your feet! Save your stilettos for another day, especially when shooting with kids – you have to be ready to keep up with them!
And now for the coordination tip…
Honestly, it’s pretty easy since I like to have the girls match on vacation anyways. I pick out their outfit first (in this case it was just the coat and hats that really stood out), and then Ben and I wear neutral complimentary colors. For family photos I’d definitely recommend steering clear of labels (crazy coming from a blogger, right?)…but I just love the organic feel of blending colors, patterns and textures without an obnoxious brand across the front (though I do think if you theme it like everyone wearing Adidas…that would be pretty darn cute…and yes we’ve done that).
My goal with this family shoot was soft and cozy…and denim always adds that extra comfort vibe (plus it’s our real-life wardrobe making the photos more authentic).
Not one of my original tips, but I encourage you to have fun! I know photos can seem like a chore, but look at them as little moments in time that are capsuled forever. And you’ll often surprise yourself with little nuggets like these lipstick kisses below…I gave Mila a kiss, forgetting that I had lipstick on, and it ended up being some of my favorite shots!
The last tip is 100% accredited to Jaci – props! She brought along a blanket and thermos full of coffee that took the photos to a whole new level. I often utilize props when doing blog photos at home, but why didn’t I think to bring any on this destination photo shoot?! Thank goodness she did!
Another tip (let’s call it a bonus) – do a few photos without the kids…just you and your partner. He may grumble (ignore it) because I promise you both will cherish them for years down the road. None of us have enough photos with our significant others!
I’m also excited to share that Jaci, her husband and their 3 littles are hitting the road soon to travel (and photograph) across the United States! Make sure to follow her on Instagram to see if she’ll be in a city near you soon!
Liked this post? I’d love if you pinned the image below to your Travel Board!
*Photos by J. Vigil Photography
Disclosure: Glacier Country Tourism and their partners graciously sponsored this post. The opinions expressed here represent my own, which I take great pride in providing pure honesty…because I’m OBSESSED with sharing the Good!